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School and Program Updates

School and Program Updates

Columbia’s ICAP Makes Strides in HIV Services in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

ICAP at the Mailman School of Public Health has been working with the Ministries of Health in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) since 2010 to expand the quality, availability, and integration of HIV services for individuals and families. As part of the comprehensive HIV care and treatment project, ICAP works in Kinshasa and Katanga provinces to strengthen the service capacity at each level of the health care system. As a result of an extensive network of ICAP-supported hospitals, laboratories, and local clinics, over 500,000 people have received HIV testing and learned their status in DRC over the last four years.

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[Photo: A pharmacy dispensing ART at a health facility in Democratic Republic of Congo]

Central to ICAP’s approach is the delivery of family-centered care and services. Thus, a family can access myriad services and a continuum of care that makes it easier for patients to learn their status, connect to care, and adhere to treatment. ICAP has expanded the intake process by offering psychosocial support to help with diagnosis and using family tree forms to trace HIV testing and enrollment.

In DRC, ICAP is one of the first PEPFAR-implementing partners to transition health sites to Option B+, a new approach to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV (PMTCT) and begin pregnant women on antiretroviral treatment (ART). In the last year, ICAP has added more than 85 PMTCT sites for a current total of 232 sites in Kinshasa and Katanga and transitioned more than 550 pregnant and breastfeeding women from Option A to Option B+. Of new patients, ICAP has initiated over 1,000 women on Option B+.

These achievements demonstrate the ability to integrate new approaches to HIV care and treatment,” said Dr. Wafaa El-Sadr, director of ICAP and professor of epidemiology and medicine. “It is why building a multifaceted and collaborative health system is so important.”